Effects of Environmental Threat on U.S. Defense Contractors in War Zones from the Social Science and Technology Perspectives

Effects of Environmental Threat on U.S. Defense Contractors in War Zones from the Social Science and Technology Perspectives

Jeffrey T. Fowler (Northcentral University, USA) and Ruth Sharf (Northcentral University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch638
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Abstract

The following article will explore environmental threat as it applies to contractor personnel in combat zones from both the technological and scientific perspectives. A unique aspect of defense contracting is the performance of contracts in war zones, such as Afghanistan. Asymmetric warfare, lacking conventional front lines, dictates that contractors encounter physical threat at any time and in a variety of circumstances. Under these conditions, contracting assumes a new dimension associated with a heightened level of physical environmental threat and the mitigating effects inherent in technological advantage. In addition, social science research into morale factors is an important element in contractor performance. It is interesting to note that the West has been unable to destroy the fundamentalist forces arrayed against it despite remarkable and rapid technological and scientific advances and their application in the theater of war.
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Background

The Mechanisms of Defense and Contingency Contracting

In 1987, the DOD Logistics Augmentation Program (LOGCAP I) incorporated a historical mandate. The mandate designated a civilian contractor rather than military personnel as responsible to sustain 20,000 troops and to maintain five facilities for a period of 180 days with an option to expand the number of troops and days to 50,000 and 365, respectively (DOD, 2009). The expiration of LOGCAP I initiated a competition for LOGCAP II and LOGCAP III was awarded in 2001. It has been used extensively to provide contractor support for the war on terror. The typical defense contract process is graphically represented in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Defense contract process. This figure illustrates factors affecting the success of a defense contractor (DCI Objectives, 2013).

Much of the defense contracting undertaken since the end of the Cold War fell into the category of contingency contracting (Harrison & Meyers, 2012; Schwartz, 2009, 2010, 2011). Contingency contracting is defined as contracting during catastrophic events, such as disasters; acts of terrorism; catastrophic social, political, or military-related events’; or combinations thereof, which require, or may ultimately require, the use of U.S. military force and associated defense contractor goods or services not normally included in the defense budget (D’Angelo, Houglan, & Buckwardt, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Contractor: The business entity that provides a good or service to an agency of the federal government. At times, a subcontractor will be engaged in accordance with government regulatory guidance (TargetGov, 2010 AU39: The in-text citation "TargetGov, 2010" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Contracting: The process of buying, renting, or leasing products or services from non-governmental entities. Federal contracting incorporates the entire acquisition process from solicitation through bidding to contract oversight and, if necessary, the pursuits of judicial redress (TargetGov, 2010 AU38: The in-text citation "TargetGov, 2010" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Private Military Companies: Private sector firms meeting the following criteria: perform military function(s) and utilize military means (procedures and technologies) in high threat environments, such as war zones. Private military companies perform in a variety of specialties from personal protection to logistics and support roles (Singer, 2007 AU40: The in-text citation "Singer, 2007" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Performance: The sum total of all corporate activities. It is analyzed by measuring organizational behavior as it applies to both good organization and value (Ghosh & Mukherjee, 2006 AU42: The in-text citation "Ghosh & Mukherjee, 2006" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Combat Zone: An area in which U.S. Armed Forces are currently engaged, or have previously engaged, in combat (including the airspace above the area). The President of the United States issues specific Executive Orders defining an area as a combat zone. There are currently three active combat zones including Afghanistan, Kosovo region, and the Persian Gulf region (Executive Order No. 12744, 1991; Executive Order No. 13119, 1999; Executive Oder No. 13239, 2001). Iraq is included in Executive Order No. 12744 (1991) as noted above. The term has also been used synonymously with ‘conflict zone’ in describing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq (PBS, 2011 AU36: The in-text citation "PBS, 2011" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Profitability: The value of a financial entity in exchange while within the field of economics profitability is defined as the contemporary value of an item based upon its future potential to generate profit (Beck, 1965 AU41: The in-text citation "Beck, 1965" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Environmental Threat: Any environment in which the senior management views the environment as more conducive to losses than to gains ( Staw, Sandelands, & Dutton, 1981 ). In a combat zone, these threats increase up to and including the possibility of death ( Schooner & Swan, 2012 ).

Contingency Contracting: All military contracting for goods or services during traditional military operations, stability operations, natural disaster support, humanitarian missions, and any other event of a specialized, time-sensitive nature (DPAP, 2013 AU37: The in-text citation "DPAP, 2013" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

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